There are two Mexican beers frequently on any cross-border Texan’s wish list. One is Indio, which I first tasted in Nuevo Laredo about a year before the city deteriorated into a narcotic trafficking war zone. The other is Victoria, a Grupo Modelo beer.
Indio, which is made by the Heineken subsidiary that produces Dos Equis, Tecate, and the tasty Bohemia, still hasn’t made its way across the Rio Grande. But Victoria has finally found its way onto store shelves and into a handful of bars and restaurants in San Antonio.
A bit of fanfare accompanied Chef Johnny Hernandez’s Alamo City introduction of Victoria at La Gloria Ice House a few days before Christmas. (La Gloria is also one of the few places in town that sells Negra Modelo, also from Grupo Modelo.)
Although Victoria is loosely included in the same Vienna-style lager category as Negra Modelo, the roast on the grain is a little lighter and a little less sweet overall. The crisp lager has enough hops to balance the mild sweetness and features a little corn-like character that drinkers of Shiner Bock and Shiner Blonde will find familiar.
SHINER OLD IS NEW
As we swap out the calendars, the Spoetzl Brewery in Shiner is brewing up more German heritage from Düsseldorf to Dortmunder.
San Antonio-based Gambrinus Co., which owns the Shiner brands, is seeking federal label approval for the new Shiner Old-Time Alt. The plan is for the alt, a style of beer common to Düsseldorf, Germany, to be the first offering in a new “Brewer’s Pride” series from the company.
Alt means “old” in German and indicates the use of common lager ingredients, while the brewing style uses top-fermenting ale yeasts that were common in European beer making until Germans and Czechs discovered lagering.
The brewery is also bringing back the Shiner Frost it introduced a year ago, but this time as a renamed spring seasonal for 2011. The label submitted for approval calls it Shiner Spring Ale Dortmunder Style.
Travis E. Poling writes about beer weekly for the Current and is author of Beer Across Texas: A Guide to Brews and Brewmasters of the Lone Star State. Please send beer news and event information two weeks in advance to firstname.lastname@example.org.